SABOTAGE. Buckeye fans have long wondered whether Michigan’s famed football coach, Fielding Yost, played a role in ruining Ohio State’s 1922 season by derailing it four days before the Buckeyes took the field for their first game.
According to letters uncovered by Neal E. Boudette of The New York Times, he absolutely, unequivocally did, and Boudette proved it in his latest article:
Michigan and Ohio State, who meet on Saturday as they battle for national championships, have one of the most intense and deep-rooted rivalries in American sports.
Yet the origins of this enmity have long been debated. Never was the rivalry more heated than in the epic “Ten Year War” from 1969 to 1978, when Bo Schembechler coached Michigan against his former mentor, Woody Hayes. Some historians also point to a 34-0 thrashing of Ohio State in 1934 when the Buckeyes started the tradition of awarding small pendants to players to celebrate each win over Michigan.
But correspondence from the schools’ archives recently discovered by The New York Times offers new insight into an even earlier tale, one of betrayal and revenge stemming from the 1922 game, giving new fuel to a century-old feud.
The letters show that Michigan coach Fielding Yost had learned from an alumnus that Ohio State’s star quarterback entering the 1922 season was ineligible to play, and that Yost strategically took steps behind the scenes that led to the athlete’s disqualification a few days before the season started. .
When the rivalry game hit later that season, Michigan won, 19-0, spoiling the opening fanfare at the newly constructed horseshoe-shaped Ohio Stadium.
Yost, called an “evil genius” by Michigan football historian John U. Bacon, was so discreet in his moves to sabotage Ohio State that when Boudette contacted spokespeople for both programs, they were unaware of the background to the 1922 game and that Yost played a part in the suspension of Ohio State’s quarterback.
Here’s how Yost got away with it—at least for 100 years:
The Buckeyes had high hopes going into the 1922 season, with its offense powered by Noel Workman, a quarterback from West Virginia nicknamed Dopey, and his brother Harry, a halfback. The Workman brothers chose Ohio State over Michigan in 1919.
But about a week before the season began, Ohio State announced some crushing news. Evidence had emerged that Noel Workman, the quarterback, was no longer eligible to play college football because he played at a small West Virginia school in 1917. Players were limited to three seasons of eligibility at the time, and Workman had reached that mark with one season at West Virginia and two at Ohio State. The final decision to disqualify Workman was made by John L. Griffith, the commissioner of the Big Ten, who was responsible for enforcing the eligibility rules.
The decision, Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, said, stripped Ohio State of “the most fearsome quarterback” in the conference and “the man in whom most of its faith was this season.” The team’s coach, John Wilce, moved Harry Workman to quarterback, and the Buckeyes’ offense sputtered early in the season. And against Michigan, before a crowd of more than 70,000 fans packed into the stands plus extra chairs and bleachers, Harry Workman threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in Michigan’s route.
The game was so lopsided that Buckeyes fans began heading for the exits in the third quarter, surrendering their new building to wild Michigan supporters. Ohio State alumni “pulled out their eyebrows listening to them,” The Detroit Free Press reported. The Michigan band, along with about 5,000 Wolverines fans, marched through the streets of Columbus and played their fight song, “Hail to the Victors,” according to The Lansing State Journal.
As Boudette continued his article, he revealed discovered letters between a man named Lou Barringer and Yost. The men were friends, and Barringer had even pushed for Noel Workman to attend Michigan to play football before choosing Ohio State.
In Barringer’s letter, he shared evidence that Noel Workman had played one year of football at Bethany College in 1917—a fact that was difficult to track at the time—which meant Workman would only be eligible for two seasons at Ohio State . This information, unknown to the Buckeyes, would be what Yost would use to derail his rival’s season before it began.
Yost wrote back to Barringer: “This matter will be treated in complete confidence as far as names are concerned.”
By then, Yost had begun to push the Big Ten Conference to appoint an athletic commissioner to enforce athlete eligibility rules. Yost’s candidate for the job – Griffith – filled the position in July.
Two months later, Ohio State began preseason practices with Noel Workman running his offense, unaware of what was brewing. Then, in a letter dated Oct. 3 — four days before Ohio State’s first game and 18 days before it was scheduled to face Michigan — Griffith wrote a letter informing the university that Noel Workman appeared to be unable to attend in football.
Ohio State officials protested, but Griffith wouldn’t budge, and the Buckeyes were forced to figure out a new offense days before their season opener.
As mentioned above, Ohio State lost that game 19-0 to Michigan. And it was all because Yost played the long game while slowly working behind the scenes to ensure he could ruin an entire season for the Buckeyes.
Sneaky things. I mean, really sneaky. But that’s the kind of thing that makes this rivalry so great. A hundred years later, Ohio State can avenge the loss the Buckeyes suffered because of such tricks, and it will be oh-so-cool when they do.
AN ELITE TEAM. Ohio State is an elite football team. We know it. Michigan knows that. The entire college football world knows it. But what makes the Buckeyes elite?
FOX’s Joel Klatt broke down some of the reasons why Ohio State has been so dominant this season and discussed how the team could use those things to their advantage in their matchup with the Wolverines on Saturday.
Spoiler: This video talks a lot about CJ Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., Ryan Day, Jim Knowles and many other famous names. But honestly, it really is the surprising that these names are associated with the word “elite”?
I can’t wait to see all these things play out this weekend. It will be pure joy.
ZACH HARRISON, EVERYONE. When Zach Harrison arrived on campus as a top-five recruit in 2019, he was seen as a player who was already on his way to becoming the next Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa or Chase Young. That’s not exactly how things went for the Lewis Center, Ohio, native.
On this week’s episode of the Big Ten Network’s “The Journey,” Harrison told the story of his time at Ohio State. Now in his fourth season with the program, he’s realized he never had to be the next Bosa or Young to make a significant impact for the Buckeyes — he just had to be Zach Harrison.
Ryan Day has said on more than one occasion this season that Harrison is playing the best football of his college career in 2022. On Wednesday’s The Ryan Day Radio Show, the Ohio State head coach took that thought a step further.
“I think he’s one of the most powerful and most productive defensive ends in the country right now,” Day said.
And Day is right.
This season, Harrison has 26 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups and an interception through 11 games. His production in recent weeks has been off the charts, especially against Maryland. Last weekend, Harrison tallied five tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks and a forced fumble on the Terps’ final offensive drive that led to a Steele Chambers touchdown and clinched a 43-30 victory for Ohio State.
We made the wrong call @OhioStateFB‘s game-sealing TD a Pick-6 in original tweet.
This – the stats, the impact, the whole thing – is what Zach Harrison can do for Ohio State when he’s playing himself and not trying to be something he’s not (ie a Bosa or Young). The Buckeyes will take what he offers seven days a week and twice on Saturdays.
Harrison will look to continue his spectacular season against Michigan this weekend in a game he calls “more than a game.”
FEED ZEKE. The Dallas Cowboys properly fed Ezekiel Elliott on Thanksgiving Day.
I mean, seriously. What better holiday for Zeke—the man who’s always looking to be fed—to feast on than the one where we all stuff our faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever other food we can get our hands on?
I will answer that. No, it’s not there.
Elliott posted his best performance of the year Thursday, rushing for a season-high 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and adding a catch for 3 yards in the Cowboys’ 28-20 win over the New York Giants.
There has been a lot of talk in recent seasons that Elliott is not the same running back he used to be when he first broke into the league and is therefore “washed up.” But with performances like the one against the Giants, I don’t think he’s slowing down anytime soon.
While Elliott is far from the same player he was in his early years in the NFL, he is also far from washed up. This season, Zeke has rushed 124 times for 485 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. The Cowboys are 8-3 and could make the playoffs in a few months. The former Ohio State running back will play an integral role in some of Dallas’ biggest games to help them make the postseason, and he’s certainly up for the task.
After all, Elliott always played his best on the biggest stages while a Buckeye. Why should it have changed years later?
GET TO THE POINT. All we want for Christmas is … Spam Figgy Pudding?… Winston the French Bulldog has won the National Dog Show… Steve Martin doesn’t regret the rental car tirade in “Planes, Trains and Cars.” .. Robot baristas take over a California cafe.